In digital marketing circles, voice search has been a major topic of discussion since at least 2015. This June, Search Engine Journal has published two separate articles underlining the growing importance of voice search, telling digital marketing professionals “Don’t Ignore Voice Search in Your SEO.”
The short version of the argument goes like this: as more and more searchers use voice search tools like Siri and Allo, long tail keywords are taking on new significance in SEO campaigns. Already, mobile users account for 52% of all paid search clicks, and voice search is taking on new importance in both mobile marketing and local search engine optimization (“Siri, find me a pizza shop that delivers near me”).
Yet there’s an important caveat here:
You should definitely ignore voice search in your local SEO marketing campaigns.
How Important Is Voice Search in 2016, Really?
There’s no doubt that Google is investing heavily in natural language processing, especially now that the Google answer to Siri has gone live (Hello, Allo). There’s also no doubt that voice search is one of the major digital marketing trends of 2016, and it should absolutely be on any SEO consultant’s radar.
All that being said, voice search is still in its infancy. While a handful of iPhone users and Google diehards are using their digital assistants, far more people are still searching the old fashioned way — in short, clunky keyword-speak.
The most successful digital marketing and SEO campaigns have a very specific scope. You target specific keywords, national or local SEO, and geo-specific regions. The more targeted your digital marketing campaign, the better. Unfortunately, trying to accommodate a series of longtail keywords into your local SEO campaign is more likely to distract you than yield results.
So while you should absolutely be aware of voice search, your time is better spent on digital marketing strategies that already work in there here and now. Rather than tilting at voice search windmills, invest in social media marketing, local SEO, or pay per click advertising.
Today, social media sites and blogs account for 23% of all Internet use and reach 80% of users, far higher than the adoption rate of digital assistants like Siri. Then there’s content marketing, which generates three times as many leads at 62% of the cost of traditional outbound strategies.
For now, forget what the experts say. Voice search may be the future of SEO, but your concern should be for the present.